Never work with animals or children, that’s what they say in Hollywood. It’s pretty clear that A-list celebrities just can’t handle the heat – unless they’re making a comedy to remind us of the crazy of it. And some of you as parents have chosen both – animals AND kids!
Sharing your house with animals isn’t an easy feat. They have terrible bathroom habits, moult endlessly and love nothing more than scratching your furniture. You take all of this in your stride, of course, because you’re an animal lover.
Then you become a parent, and things grow ever more complicated. All of a sudden you are consumed with fear that your cat will sit on the baby’s face while she sleeps. You ban the cat from the nursery, only to remember that cats don’t understand rules, bans or even the English language.
The domestic cat, though distressed by the baby’s cries, seems unfazed by the baby’s arrival. He snuggles up next to you on the sofa whilst you feed the baby, and always listens to your lengthy monologues on the highs and lows of motherhood.
As your baby grows older, she develops a love for the cat that fills you with joy. She’s an animal lover too! She squeals in delight whenever the cat strides, and reaches out to stroke her. The cat is good-natured about the whole thing, and you find yourself feeling blessed by the human-animal harmony under your roof.
And then, toddlerhood. Overnight, your sweet little baby becomes a fully-fledged cat-terroriser. And it’s your job to keep the peace. Let’s just say, you’ll have your hands full.
Here are 7 things your toddler thinks about your cat (Every. Single. Day.):
#1: “Today Will Be The Day I Ride The Cat”
Ok, enough prepping. Today will be the day I finally get to ride the cat. As soon as Mama leaves the room, I’m going to board the cat. Hmmm, but how to do it? I guess I could grab hold of an ear and a tail and try to heave myself up… yeah, that will probably work. Obviously there is no saddle, but I imagine I will be a gift bareback rider so that’s nothing to worry about. Right, now I just need to distract Mama. I think I will pretend to be hungry. She’ll be cross when she realises I was tricking her, but I’ll be long gone by then, riding into the sunset on my trusty steed.
#2: “Kitty, You Are The Best Baby Ever”
Real babies are no fun. They cry and poo a lot, and once one grabbed my hair and it wouldn’t let go and I cried a lot. Plastic babies are ok, but if you drop them on your own face, it hurts a lot. And they are really easy to put in my dolly pram. But I am not afraid of a challenge, come here kitty… We’ll go for a walk and then it’s time to change your nappy, that one looks like it might be dirty.
#3: “You Just Need To Accessorise”
Kitty, you are obviously very pretty, that’s why I call you pretty kitty. But I think you would look even better if you added a few accessories to your outfit. I like your collar, and think it would look amazing with my heart shaped glasses. Oh dear, you have no ears to hold them on, I’ll just have to push them on really tight. Beautiful! Now you just need a hat. Would you like to borrow my sun hat? It is very sunny today. Here you go. You can have my sparkly necklace too, if you like? And how about this dress? Kitty? Where are you going? Come back with my sunglasses!
#4: “Oooh, Biscuits!”
Erm, this doesn’t seem fair. For lunch, Mama gave me a dollop of hummus, some raisins and lots of cucumber, carrot and breadsticks. I didn’t even get one measly biscuit, and look, you have a whole dish of them here! That’s so unfair. Biscuits are my favourite. Please may I have one of your biscuits? We can share them can’t we? Come over here. One for me, one for you…
#5: “Ooooh, A Sensory Box!”
I love it when Mama makes sensory activities for me. There was that time she made different coloured pasta and put it all in a big box with some glitter. Or that time all my digger trucks spent the afternoon driving around in a box of mud. But she’s excelled herself today. Look at this fun box of sensory stones she’s left out next to the cat food. Oooh, it’s like gravel. I love how it feels in my fingers. Oh goodie, she’s even hidden things in here. Hey, what is that? Smells like… uh oh.
#6: “It’s Time For A Game Of ‘Catch The Tail’”
Sometimes, my cat likes to run round in a little circle trying to catch his own tail. It’s very, very funny. I play too sometimes. Well, ok, a lot. I’m much better at the game though. I always manage to catch kitty’s tail. I’ll be sat on the sofa, minding my own business, and then I’ll see a tail brush past. That’s kitty’s way of letting me know it’s time to play. So I grab it.
#7: “You Are My Bestest Toy, Ever”
I have lots of good toys. I have a big box full of brightly coloured bricks that I can build really tall towers with. I have a bright red tricycle that I can go really, really, really fast on at the park. I have my very own chalkboard and lots of chalk so that I can do drawings. And I have my own kitchen so that I can make soup for Mama. But my very favourite toy of all, is you, kitty. You are the funnest and softest and cuddliest toy ever. And that’s why I want you to sleep in my bed with me all night. I’m going to cuddle you really tight all night long.
Check out this adorable video of babies meeting animals for the first time, and think back to how much easier life was before your baby grew into a full-time animal annoyer: Pets Meeting Babies For The First Time.